With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music trivia, useless info, extra added random stuff and the odd rant from me

“But what the heck, they’re not too bad, they talk to God” January 24, 2018

I am truly saddened by the death of Mark E Smith of the Fall. He was one of the alternative music scenes greatest talents. He passed away at home and according to his manager more details will follow in the next few days. He was hospitalised with significant respiratory issues on the Fall’s US tour last year and back in the UK he completed some dates in a wheelchair. At this stage there is no way of knowing whether any of this was connected with his demise. Mark formed the Fall after seeing the now infamous Sex Pistols gig at the Manchester Free Trade Hall in 1976, they became a fixture in British music following the release of their debut EP ‘The Bingo-Masters Break Out’ in 1978. The band released 32 studio albums from ‘Live At The Witch Trials’ in 1979 to last year’s ‘New Facts Emerge’. They issued a similar number of live albums and more than 40 compilations. Smith was the only constant member of the Fall, around 60 different people played in the band over the years. He was an influence on many, many artists including Brett Anderson of Suede, Tim Burgess of the Charlatans and Billy Bragg. John Peel was a great champion and fan of the Fall, he once said “They are always different, they are always the same”, that strikes me as a very fitting epitaph. RIP Mark E Smith, you will be sadly missed. My thoughts go to Mark’s family, friends and fans.


“An eagle lands and a planet full of people raises it’s hands” Blog Advent Calendar Day 9 December 9, 2014


Here we are at December 9th and edging closer to the visit of the big, bearded, red-coated house burglar on 25th December. That also means that it is day 9 of this years advent blog posts. The theme if you are not a regular reader is the ABC of British bands and day 9 means that we are at the letter ‘I’. What delightful British band do I have for you today? Well it’s none other than the marvellous Inspiral Carpets.


The band was formed in Oldham in the early 80s by Graham Lambert and Stephen Holt. Strangely I went to school with a Stephen Holt and I worked with a Graham Lambert; sadly different people from the founders of the Inspiral Carpets though. The band’s biggest success came between 1989 and 1995 when they had 14 UK top 50 singles. The biggest of those was 1992’s “Dragging Me Down” which reached number 12. They were dropped by their label, Mute, in 1995 and they broke up a little while after that. They reformed in 2003 and are still together now.


You may know that the band once had a certain Noel Gallagher working for them as guitar tech/ roadie. Obviously before his Oasis days. The Inspirals drummer Craig Gill formed another band after the break up. That band were named after a Creedence Clearwater Revival song, Proud Mary. That band were eventually signed to Noel Gallagher’s Big Brother record label. Another Inspiral Carpets roadie, Mike Collins, went on to bigger things too. He joined the Charlatans in 1991. Collins also went to school with Paul ‘Bonehead’ Arthurs off of Oasis.

My favourite Inspiral Carpets song ever is “Saturn V”, what is yours?



“She could kill you with a wink of her eye” February 23, 2009

Well here we are again on a Monday morning, what the hell happened to the damned weekend? Why is it only two days? Three or four would be better wouldn’t it?

Anyway in yet another forlorn attempt to keep this post short, I think I know I’ll fail in that aim, let’s kick off with some birthdays. Firstly 23rd February 2009 is the 65th birthday of talented guitarist Johnny Winter. He was one of the numerous acts to play the Woodstock Festival in 1969, playing a nine song set which included his brother Edgar on two songs. Here is a clip of him from that very set at Woodstock. The rather splendid US band the Smashing Pumpkins recorded an instrumental homage to Johnny called “Tribute to Johnny”, in which they tried to emulate Winter’s unique guitar sound. The song was originally intended for their excellent 1995 album ‘Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness’ but was rejected and eventually turned as b-side on theirZero” single. Ill health means that Johnny is only able to play whilst seated. Both he and his brother Edgar are albino, to find out a little more about this go check out Wikipedia here.

As this picture proves Johnny had a very laid back playing style

As this picture proves Johnny had a very laid back playing style

Today is also the day to wish Steve Priest, the Sweet’s guitarist a happy 59th birthday. He was born in Hayes, Middlesex in the UK just a few miles away from where I was born and grew up. I now live 200 miles away in York while Steve lives a little further away in California. Who do you think got the better deal weatherwise? An early incarnation of the Sweet was called the Sweetshop, whilst they released a few singles they all failed to hit the chart. The classic line up of the band (Steve Priest, Brian Connolly, Mick Tucker and Andy Scott) came together in 1970. “Funny Funny” written by Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman became the bands first hit in 1971. Despite the fact that the band were all competent musicians and thanks to Messrs Chinn and Chapman they were not allowed to play on any of their RCA singles until “Wig Wam Bam”. They were seen by many as just another bubblegum pop band, although many of their B Sides and live gigs belied this and showed their love of and skill at playing harder rock. Steve Priest and Andy Scott are now the only surviving members of that classic line up and both still tour with their own versions of the band. Imaginatively called Steve Priest’s Sweet and Andy Scott’s Sweet! Here are the boys with “Ballroom Blitz” from 1973, Steve is the guy who does the rather camp speaking part in the song!

The Sweet like brickies in drag! Mr Priest is the one on the bottom left

The Sweet like brickies in drag! Mr Priest is the one on the bottom left

The last birthday today is Rob Collins keyboard player with the Charlatans. He would have been 46 today but sadly he was killed in a car crash on 23rd July 1996 in Rockfield, Wales during the recording sessions for the band’s 5th album. The Charlatans first gig was at Vic’s Club in Northwich, Cheshire in the UK. Following that gig their manager was able to secure them five support slots with the then new cult heroes the Stone Roses played between November 1988 and April 1989. It was Rob Collins distinctive Hammond Organ sound that underpinned many of the bands songs. Apparently he bought the organ from a local church. Here are the boys with the rather splendid “Weirdo” which Catwoman swears is about me!

Rob Collins RIP

Rob Collins RIP

On this day in 1974 Suzi Quatro was number one in the UK charts with “Devil Gate Drive” her second number one. From quite a young age Suzi (born Susan Kay Quatro) had aspired to a career in music. She left school in 1964 and immediately formed a band called the ‘Pleasure Seekers’ with her three sisters Arlene, Patti and Nancy. As with the Sweet earlier in this post and Mud from a previous post, many of her early hits were written by Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman. Fans of the US sitcom ‘Happy Days’ may also remember Suzi’s appearances on that show as Leather Tuscadero in 1977

Suzi had failed to notice the small ladder in her tights as shen went on stage

Suzi had failed to notice the small ladder in her tights as she went on stage

It was on this day in 1979 that Dire Straits played their first ever US show when they appeared at the Paradise Club in Boston. The single of the title track from 1985’s “Brothers In Arms” album was the first commercially available CD single. 400 copies were pressed for release in November 1985. The album went to number one in both the UK and the US. Here is my favourite Dire Straits song which was also their first UK hit, “Sultans Of Swing

Though they were excellent guitarists those Dire Straits boys never really mastered the Hank Marvin/ Shadows dance steps

Though they were excellent guitarists those Dire Straits boys never really mastered the Hank Marvin/ Shadows dance steps

And finally on this day in 2003 the UK tabloid ‘The News Of The World’ reported that Michael Jackson had undergone scores of painful operations to strip his body of black skin until he appeared white. They also reported that surgeons at a Santa Monica clinic eventually refused him any further treatment. An ‘insider’ told the paper that Jacson had been anesthetized on a weekly basis to have his skin peeled and bleached. Is this a true story? Maybe, but bear in mind the track record of the UK tabloid press in making up stories before making up your mind. Here is Michael with “Black Or White

looking at the man in the mirror Michael finally realised that he may have overdone the plastic surgery

looking at the man in the mirror Michael finally realised that he may have overdone the plastic surgery

Well that’s another day nearly over folks, enjoy the rest of it and I’ll be back tomorrow


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